Rising Food Prices Due to Alternative Fuels Push
Smart and energetic people sometimes make costly mistakes. Such is the case with corn farmers, politicians and the push to develop ethanol as an alternative fuel.
Working together, corn farmers and politicians have conspired to promote ETHANOL as an alternative fuel, promising its use will help to relieve this country of its dependence upon foreign oil. While it IS an alternative, it IS NOT a good alternative. Why? Because it’s largely to blame for today’s fast-rising food prices.
To understand how, I invite you to walk a mile in the virtual “shoes” of each of three types of people with a stake in the outcome of the alternative fuels discussion:
Corn farmer – These days, you’re being paid — or, as in this case, being subsidized via huge tax breaks — to produce a product for which increased demand has been generated artificially by way of federal legislation. As a result, prices for your product have soared, and you’re making more money than ever before. For you, life is good and you see a future in alternative fuels. Ethanol is king!
Consumer – As a result of the corn farmer’s good fortune described above, you’re seeing both food prices and the prices of thousands of corn-based and -related products rise at twice the rate of inflation. In addition, you’re scratching your head while watching farm-state politicians and presidential hopefuls tout the so-called “benefits” of ethanol while ignoring the fact that it requires more energy to produce than it saves, costs more at the pump and delivers lower fuel efficiency than gasoline.
Politician — Considering the fact that corn is king in Iowa and that the state is, arguably, the most important state of the 2008 presidential campaign season, one can understand why you might succumb to pressure from the powerful corn lobby. By pandering to their self-serving interests and delivering subsidies to them in the form of tax breaks, you know you’ll reap substantial rewards in the form of contributions made to your campaign. At the same time, however, you find yourself fidgeting and unable to sleep at night, disturbed by the knowledge that you’ve sold out your country’s long-term energy interests and replaced them with your own short-term gains.